How to write great interview questions with examples

Plan de l'article

You feel that your candidates' answers are too vague, rehearsed, or just plain boring ?

Then it's maybe time to rethink your interview questions.

In this guide, we'll teach you how to craft targeted, insightful interview questions that go beyond the surface

What Makes a Great Interview Question?

Great interview questions go beyond surface-level answers, digging deep to reveal a candidate's skills, experience, and personality.

Let's break down the main features of these questions :

  • Open-Ended: Skip the simple "yes" or "no" questions. Instead, ask open-ended questions like "Tell me about a time when..." or "How would you handle...?" These encourage candidates to share detailed responses, giving you a clear picture of their thought process and problem-solving abilities.
  • Very specific to the job :  Every question you ask should relate directly to the job requirements. Don't waste time on unrelated trivia or personal details. Stay focused on assessing their qualifications and whether they'd be a good fit for the position.
  • Challenging, But Fair: Push candidates to show their best, but don't make it unnecessarily difficult. Avoid overly complicated or trick questions. The goal is to assess their abilities, not to stump them.
  • Consistent: Every question should be the same for each candidate you're interviewing for a role. That's why you have to craft a structured list of questions beforehand. Studies especially show that structured interviews are the most accurate and fair way of interviewing.

Types of Interview Questions to Use

There are different types of interview questions you can use to get the most out of your interviews :

  • Behavioral Questions: These questions take you back in time to examine a candidate's past performance. They typically start with "Tell me about a time when..." and focus on specific situations the candidate has encountered. By learning how they handled challenges or successes in the past, you can get a better idea of how they'll perform in similar situations in your company.
  • Situational Questions: These questions allow you to see how a candidate might approach hypothetical scenarios. They usually begin with "How would you handle...?" and present a problem or challenge for the candidate to solve. Their responses can reveal their problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and creativity, giving you valuable insights into how they might handle real-world situations in your workplace.
  • Skill-Based Questions: These questions help you zero in on a candidate's technical abilities and knowledge. They are specific to the role and might involve explaining a concept, demonstrating a skill, or solving a problem.  For example, you might ask a software developer to explain their experience with a particular programming language or ask a project manager to outline their approach to managing timelines and resources.
  • Cultural Fit Questions: These questions help you determine if a candidate's values and work style align with your company culture. They often delve into a candidate's ideal work environment, their preferred communication style, or their approach to collaboration. A strong cultural fit can lead to higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and better employee retention.

Examples of Powerful Questions

Let's make things even more practical. Here are some examples of powerful interview questions tailored to common positions :

Sales:

  • Behavioral: "Describe a time when you faced rejection from a prospect. How did you handle it, and what did you learn?"
  • Situational: "Imagine you're struggling to meet your monthly sales quota. What steps would you take to turn things around?"
  • Skill-based: "Walk me through your typical sales process, from prospecting to closing."
  • Cultural fit: "What motivates you to succeed in sales, and how do you stay resilient in the face of challenges?"

Marketing:

  • Behavioral: "Tell me about a marketing campaign you're particularly proud of. What was your role, and what were the results?"
  • Situational: "How would you approach launching a new product in a crowded market with a limited budget?"
  • Skill-based: "Describe your experience with SEO/SEM, social media marketing, or content creation."
  • Cultural fit: "What kind of marketing team environment do you thrive in? How do you collaborate with others to achieve shared goals?"

Engineering:

  • Behavioral: "Share an example of a complex technical problem you solved. What was your approach, and what were the outcomes?"
  • Situational: "How would you prioritize and manage multiple projects with competing deadlines?"
  • Skill-based: "Explain your experience with specific programming languages, frameworks, or tools relevant to the role."
  • Cultural fit: "Describe your preferred approach to software development (e.g., Agile, Waterfall). How do you balance innovation with practicality?"

Customer Service:

  • Behavioral: "Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond to resolve a customer issue."
  • Situational: "How would you handle a difficult customer who is demanding a refund or compensation?"
  • Skill-based: "Describe your experience with customer relationship management (CRM) software or other relevant tools."
  • Cultural fit: "What does excellent customer service mean to you? How do you build rapport and trust with customers?"

Noota: Record automatically your candidates' answers

Noota turns interview chaos into structured success. It records every interview response automatically, pinpoint the most relevant details, and objectively evaluate each answer :

  • Automatic Recording & Transcription: Forget about scribbling notes during interviews. Noota seamlessly records and transcribes every conversation in real-time. This frees you to fully engage with candidates, building rapport and picking up on nonverbal cues.
  • Structured Summaries: No more sifting through pages of notes. Noota generates concise summaries of each interview, highlighting key takeaways and allowing you to easily compare candidates side-by-side.  This saves you valuable time and ensures you're making decisions based on consistent, objective data.
  • Objective Evaluation: Want to take your analysis to the next level? Noota can automatically evaluate candidate responses using any interview method, like for example STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). You just have to customize your summary template for that.

Want to take the note-taking work out of interviews ? Try Noota for free.

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